06 May 2005

Democratic Party's rules cannot be waived

The individual who forwarded the email from the Democratic Party email list followed up last night with answers to questions regarding the ability of the Florida Democratic Party to waive its rules this Saturday in Orlando. The short answer is that the rules cannot be waived. On the condition of anonymity, the author has permitted FloridapolitiX.com to publish portions of the email. I have added links (and corrected a couple of typos) for the readers' convenience:

I read your blog about the rules today and I thought I would follow up. The email about waiving the rules is troubling and could result in another violation of the FDP Rules. I personally am rooting for Karen Thurman to be the next chair and I feel strongly that if she were elected under questionable circumstances it could hurt her ability to do the job of chair. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be the next chair. I think a lot of us would just like to see her get it the right way so the Party can just unite behind her instead of the infighting continuing into her term.
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Regarding the waiving of the rules, the FDP Charter does not list a set of rules except for some basic procedural stuff. When the charter or bylaws don't specify the rules, it is best to consult Robert's Rules of Order to fill in the gaps. Robert's Rules clearly state that rules cannot be waived for things issues of substance like eligibility of candidates, who calls a meeting, which meeting is called, and other similar issues, unless the charter or bylaws says that these specific requirements can be waived. The Executive Committee could waive the rules dealing with procedure only if they get a 2/3 vote, but this would not be the case here. If the FDP State Executive Committee waives the rules, charter or bylaws on Saturday, they would be creating more controversy and undercutting the legitimacy of the Party's election.
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I found the rules dealing with waiving of bylaws on the Internet. Robert's Rules of Order, Rule 67 (Article 11) state that "By-laws should include all the rules that are of such importance that they cannot be changed in any way without previous notice, except those placed in the constitution and the rules of order." The same rule also states, "If it is desired to permit the suspension of any by-law it should be specifically provided for. By-laws, except those relating to business procedure, cannot be suspended, unless they expressly provide for their suspension. By-laws in the nature of rules of order may be suspended by a two-thirds vote, as stated in in 22.".

Now, we'll have to see what Chairman Scott Maddox and the state party does. Be sure to read your Sunday newspaper for the results or visit Sayfie Review which provides a daily list of stories around the state.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess that settles it. Let's do the right thing and get on with it.

11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Eddie Page said...

"Be sure to read your Sunday newspaper for the results or visit Sayfie Review which provides a daily list of stories around the state."

But I would encourage you to check out http://www.fortreport.com/ for your free daily clips service.

6:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comments from yesterday's blog about any legislative body being able to waive the rules are simply idiotic. Yes the state legislature and Congress can waive their rules, but last time I checked the FDP State Executive Committee was not a legislative body! Do they pass laws? That comment was just plain stupid. (Forget about the fact that legislatures and Congress have the right to waive rules codified into their own rules of procedure and don't just do it when they feel like it from the floor.)

Plus as the blog today points out, an organization can only waive rules that deal with procedure. You cannot just waive rules that deal with the structure of an organization.

For example, the name of the Florida Democratic Party is established in the charter and bylaws. Can you imagine if at one of the meetings, without providing any notice to the millions of Dems in the state, the executive committee just decided on a whim to change the name? Just waive the rule that requires notice for amending the charter and bylaws, then make a motion from the floor to change the name of the organization. According to the comments above, that would be totally acceptable.

I do agree however that Jeff Ryan being forced out started all of this. That event started a chain reaction of people getting sick of the party chairman using strong arm tactics to get what he wants. I think it also pointed out the hypocrisy when the party enforced eligibility requirements when they applied to Jeff Ryan, but looked the other way when they applied to Karen Thurman. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for a lot of people.

I personally want to see Karen win this election, and I think that she will. But I would like to see her win fair and square. It's not her fault that the party screwed this up, and I do feel bad for her. But we as a Party can't just let the rules be ignored when they are inconvenient. How can we as Dems criticize DeLay and Bush for playing fast and loose with the truth and the rules, but make it OK for us?

If the FDP doesn't hold a legal, by the rules election for state chair, I will personally be disgusted with the Party and I'm sure I won't be alone.

6:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Republican Voter said...

I would bet a million dollars that the Democrats will just ignore their rules and do whatever they want. This is why the voters reject the Dems in election after election. You don't stand for anything. Here you guys can't even follow your own rules.

How can Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy and the rest of you attack Republicans for allegedly breaking some unimportant rules when there are Democrats in Florida that can't even be honest about the rules that govern their own party?

You guys are sad. Pitiful. Keep it up Democrats. You make the job of the Republicans easier and easier.

7:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A correction -- Jeff Ryan was never forced out of anything -- you have to be in something before you can be forced out --- he has never been part of the leadership at either the local or state level (just a paid staffer) who didn't/doesn't do anything for the common good unless he is paid.

10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous comment, I hate to break the news to you but most of the people that make up the DECs are complete losers. They are the reason the party is in ruin.

Staffers like Jeff Ryan are the only decent Democrats left. We need more people like him. I bet the anonymous above hasn't done anything but send out emails and bitch.

12:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff Ryan is one of the few true professionals we have left in our party. The continued manipulation and exploitation of the rules to serve political ends in our party knows no bounds. The real crime in this saga is the continued defacto acceptance by the rank in file members of DECs across the state that the rules of the party do not matter, and without the enforcement of the rules we will never be able to actually amend the rules to bring them into a more contemporary posture.

6:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to Thurman. She was the class of the field.

6:34:00 PM  

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